Edited or filtered images and videos

Learn about the impact that seeing altered images and videos can have on young people and find out how to support them.

How filters and editing tools can affect young people

Many platforms now have in-app filters or editing tools to help you alter an image or video. Some filters can be used for fun, to add silly props or masks to an image or video.

However, when filters or tools are used to enhance or alter physical features, this can lead young people to compare themselves to others online and have an unrealistic view of acceptable beauty standards. It’s not always easy to recognise when someone is using a filter, for example there are tools available that enable you to edit your appearance during a livestream or video call.

What impact can filters and editing tools have?

  • They can effect young people's self-esteem and body image.
  • Young people may feel pressure to post certain images to ‘fit in’.
  • They can effect young people's overall wellbeing.
  • Young people may feel disappointment or embarrassment if they don’t get enough ‘likes’ or comments.
  • Seeing a friend, influencer or celebrity posting an edited image or video online can also negatively affect a young person’s self-esteem and put pressure on them to post certain types of images.

Remember: Often people will only share certain aspects of their lives which can lead followers to believe that they live a perfect life. Many influencers are paid to create aspiring content as a way to encourage people to buy products and make money. 

Worried about a child?

If you're worried about something a child or young person may have experienced online, you can contact the NSPCC helpline for free support and advice. Call us on 0808 800 5000 or contact us online.

Children can contact Childline any time to get support themselves.

Get support

Supporting your child with what they see and share

The content we see on our social media feeds can have an impact on us but we don’t need to keep following things that impact negatively on our wellbeing. Help them take control of what they are seeing online by encouraging them to do the following:

  • Talk to them about editing tools, where they see them and how they make them feel.
  • Remind them that what we see online is often a highlights reel. This can even be the case when someone is sharing something sad. We don’t see the day to day realities of people’s lives online.
  • Explore options to mute or unfollow accounts.
  • Encourage them to regularly review their feed and unfollow anyone who doesn’t make them feel good about themselves.
  • Explore tools that hide likes from other accounts and look for other ways you can help build their self-confidence.
  • Remind them that they can always come to you if they’re feeling low or worried about something and they can also contact Childline.

Mental health resources on Childline

Childline has lots of resources, advice and activities to help young people manage their mental health: